Top ten in the world for sustainable development

The quality and scale of our impact against the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is ranked among the top ten in the world in the Times Higher Education University Impact Rankings in 2022.

The 17 SDGs are the world’s call to action on the most pressing challenges and opportunities facing humanity and the natural world, and we’re playing a leading role in tackling them.

As one of the world’s leading research institutions and the UK’s only university to have social responsibility as a core goal, The University of Manchester is playing a leading role in tackling the SDGs in four ways – through our research, learning and students, public engagement activities and responsible campus operations. Our 2021/22 SDG report outlines how are tackling the SDGs (PDF, 11.2MB).


The University of Manchester Sustainable Development Goals 2021/22 report video transcript

SDG 1: No poverty

Leading a £32 million African Cities Research Consortium to work for urban progress.

SDG 2: Zero hunger

We provided 6,000+ meal to homeless people through our Students' Union.

SDG 3: Good health and wellbeing

Our students deliver essential healthcare to local communities through the Humanising Healthcare Initiative. 

SDG 4: Quality education

1,300 staff and alumni contribute to leadership in state education through our School Governor Initiative.

SDG 5: Gender equality

We hold 15 chartermarks for gender equality.

SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation

Tackling microplastic pollution in UK rivers through research and lobbying for better regulation.

SDG 7: Affordable and clean energy

More than 600 academics addressing sustainable energy challenges.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

We're an accredited Living Wage employer. 

SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure

Manchester Innovation Factory is creating 15+ new spin-out companies each year.

SDG 10: Reducted inequalities

300+ Global South students funded through our Equity and Merit programme.

SDG 11: Sustainable cities and communities

Platinum accreditation for progress on low-carbon travel.

SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production

Our students created a zero-waste shop on campus. 

SDG 13: Climate action

Committed to Manchester's 2038 zero carbon target.

SDG 14: Life below water

Eliminating avoidable single-use plastic by 2022. 

SDG 15: Life on land

300+ semi-mature trees planted on campus. 

SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions

Working with communities affected by conflict to create positive change.

SDG 17: Partnerships for the goals

Engaging with policymakers and the public.

Download the full report at

We are helping tackle the UN's Sustainable Development Goals 

Through our research 

We're delivering on the UN SDGs by creating a healthier, fairer and greener world, through our research, collaborations and partnerships.

We’ve contributed 21,571 research publications across all 17 SDGs over the past five years – representing 4% of the UK’s research on the goals. Our five research beacons – advanced materials, biotechnology, cancer, energy, and global inequalities – are examples of our pioneering work tackling the world’s biggest challenges.

Through our teaching

We’re committed to empowering students with the knowledge, skills and opportunities to understand and address all of the SDGs. We do this through:

Through our public engagement

We hold a prestigious Gold Watermark for public engagement and aim to involve and inspire local and global communities with the SDGs. A key way that we achieve this is through work at our pioneering cultural institutions – Manchester Museum, the Whitworth, Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre and the John Rylands Research Institute and Library.

Through our campus operations

As one of our region’s largest anchor institutions we’re addressing the SDGs through our campus operations, policies and processes. We’re a living wage accredited employer, a top ranking institution for LGBT-inclusivity, hold quality marks for gender, disability and racial equality, enact responsible methods of procurement and investment and have made a commitment to zero carbon in-line with Manchester’s 2038 goal.